Fb’s Oversight Board Is Taking Public Feedback On Trump’s Ban

Top line

Facebook’s Oversight Board, an independent panel of experts set up to review contentious cases, accepts public comments on whether Facebook was right in banning former President Donald Trump and allows the public to make a Facebook decision regarding Trump for weigh right the first time.

In this photo illustration, a thumbs up sign from Facebook is displayed on a mobile phone.

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Key factors

Facebook indefinitely banned Trump earlier this month following the Capitol uprising, citing two posts during the attack: a video telling the rioters that he “loved” them and that the election was “stolen from us” and one Post in which he said “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously pulled off by great patriots.”

Although Facebook believes it was right to ban Trump, the company referred the case to the board of directors last week, which will decide whether Trump’s ban remains permanent as Facebook must comply with the board’s decisions.

The Board says the public comment process is for “subject matter experts and interested groups” to share relevant research and information that may be helpful, although anyone can comment.

The public has 10 days to comment. This can be done here.

Crucial quote

“We believe our decision was necessary and correct,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook vice president, in a statement last week. “Given its importance, we believe it is important that the Board review this and give an independent judgment on whether it should be affirmed.”

Key background

Facebook’s oversight board was set up in 2019 in response to widespread criticism of the social network’s moderation guidelines. The 20-strong panel consists of academics and other experts such as former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and the director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford University, Michael McConnell. The board says their mission is to “support people’s right to freedom of expression” by upholding or reversing Facebook’s substantive decisions. In its first rulings, released this week, the board found that Facebook incorrectly removed posts five out of six.

Chief critic

Although the board is independent and Facebook has promised to stick to its decisions, some say the oversight board is still insufficient to tackle misinformation and hate speech. A group of prominent figures, including Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, and Reed Galen, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, have even started their own group called the Real Facebook Oversight Board. They say the official Facebook board can’t act fast enough to make significant changes and is limited to content that Facebook originally removed, not posts that are still active.

What to look for

The regulator was given 90 days from January 21 to make its decision.

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